Good Friday, National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s Saturday, Easter Sunday.
Week five of the NPL 2 NSW Men’s competition see’s every game played on Saturday night.
And we have plenty on the agenda, NWS Spirit host Central Coast Mariners in our match of the round. Whilst games at Blacktown Football Park, Lily Holmes Stadium and Ernie Smith also have caught the eye.
Saturday 3rd April
Match of the Round: NWS Spirit FC v Central Coast Mariners FC; 7pm @ Christie Park No.1
A clash between last years top two (regular season) highlights our Saturday night fixtures. And with the two sides, NWS Spirit FC and Central Coast Mariners coming in having not picked up a victory in round four. Our eggscitement could not be higher.
Hensley Athletic Field can be a tricky place for any team to get points from. And so, it proved for NWS Spirit last Sunday afternoon against a red hot Hakoah FC outfit.
Not to be outdone, Central Coast Mariners themselves faced a tricky away trip themselves to Ernie Smith Reserve. In that game, they were perhaps unlucky to not take three points, hitting the frame of the goal twice late on.
The first thing you will notice about either of these squads, is the depth. So, do not be surprised if this is decided late on. In terms of players to watch, Kota Odakura and Mitch Davidson have started the season in top form for the hosts. Whilst Central Coast Mariners have league top scorer Damien Tsekenis with a supporting cast James Bayliss and Garang Kuol
NWS Spirit FC will be looking to overturn a poor record against this week’s opponent having won just one of their seven previous meetings. Last time they met; Central Coast Mariners took the chocolates with an 8-3 victory up at Pluim Park.
Be sure to join Jono Farr for the call on NPL.TV this Saturday night.
St George City v Mounties Wanderers FC; 6pm @ Poulton Park
What a difference a week makes in the NPL2 Men’s competition. Two victories on the bounce have seen St George City rocket up the table to equal second. In their midweek fixture, Jason Romero picked up a brace, including a magnificent solo goal just before added time. Whilst in midfield, Tarik Ercan is back in the middle after missing the derby last weekend.
Much like the easter bunny’s ears, Mounties Wanderers form has certainly flopped after their sole victory in round one. Since then, they have scored two goals whilst conceding eighteen. Last weekend against Western Sydney Wanderers, a four-goal first half from their opposition put them firmly on the back foot, after they themselves missed a chance early.
Last time these two sides met; it was Mounties who secured a five-goal win back in July 2019.
SD Raiders FC v Hakoah FC; 6:30pm @ Ernie Smith Reserve No.1
SD Raiders complete their three-game home stand with a clash against Hakoah FC this weekend.
Home comforts? Not so much. SD Raiders will be looking to rebuild their fortress having taken just the one point from their opening three matches at home. The Raiders couldn’t back up a well-earned point against Central Coast Mariners last weekend against St George City. Coach Nick Carle will be hoping his side can resurrect some form, Saturday night.
They face a confident Hakoah FC who scored their first victory of the season last weekend. In that performance against NWS Spirit FC, every player on the pitch performed to a high standard. Although, Nikolas Loe in net, Jacob Esposito and the midfield duo of Yianni Spyrakis and Dominic Cox all deserve a mention (since we did not mention them in the review).
To get victory in this one, the team from Sydney’s Eastern suburbs will have to overturn a horrible away record. Their last league victory away from Hensley coming in June 2019 against Sutherland Sharks.
Blacktown Spartans FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; 7pm @ Blacktown Football Park No.1
Blacktown Spartans will be looking for their first victory of the season when they host Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Saturday night.
It has not been an easy start to the season for Blacktown Spartans. Approaching round five, the side from Sydney’s west have taken just the one point from a possible nine. However, they have been perhaps unlucky in their past two outings against Northern Tigers and St George City. Coach Brett Hewitt will be wanting a response in this one, with a focus on taking the chances given to them.
In saying that, Bonnyrigg are perhaps the one opposition you do not want to face in such form. The Eagles are flying high in fourth position with two victories and a draw. Last weekend they were held by Hills United, and they will be looking to respond in strong fashion here. Look out for Aidan Taouil and Asmir Kadric as their main threats in this one.
Hills United FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC; 7pm @ Lily Homes Stadium
Hills United host an in-form Western Sydney Wanderers in a clash between two in form teams at Lily Holmes Stadium.
Not many teams will travel to Bonnyrigg Sports Centre and come away without defeat. But that is exactly what Hills United managed to do last weekend. After a slow start to the season in round one, Hills have managed to take five points form their last three. Key to that has been the form of Jordan Parfait, Wade Giovaneli and last week’s goal scorer Adolph Koudakpo.
Western Sydney Wanderers come into this clash after an impressive victory over Mounties Wanderers. Off the back of defeating Northern Tigers, Patrick Zwaanswijk’s men ran out to a four-goal lead before the break. With Allesandro Lopane and Ali Auglah both picking up braces. Coming in with back-to-back wins, the Wanderers will be looking for three straight victories for the first time in two years.
St George FC v Northern Tigers; 7pm @ Ilinden Sports Centre
St George FC will be looking to bounce back from a derby defeat when they host Northern Tigers at Ilinden Sports Centre, Saturday night.
In coach Jane Talcevski’s first game in charge, the Saints found the going hard against their neighbors early. But after weathering the storm, Talcevski’s side did show some promise in the last fifteen minutes of the opening half. If they are to pull themselves up the table, Bruno Pivato in midfield will play a key role. But do not sleep on their threat in the air with the likes of Connor Quiligan in the side.
Northern Tigers are starting to resemble the team who finished runner’s up last season. After an early season injury crisis. Captain Jamie Lobb and Shervin Adeli returned to the squad last weekend. Adeli marking his return with a brace against Blacktown Spartans. Two wins from four, coach Adam Hett is now hoping his team put together a run towards the summit of the table.
Mid-week Match Review: SD Raiders FC 0 v St George City 2 (Jason Romero 79’ 89’)
Make some room Northern Tigers, we have another team in the competition who likes to score late goals. Yes, St George City left it late to beat SD Raiders at Ernie Smith Reserve, Wednesday evening.
With returning captain Tarik Ercan back in the side, the visitors weathered the conditions before Jason Romero found the net twice late on.
Before that, both sides had chances of their own in a contest played at a good tempo which occasionally threatened to boil over. However, both goalkeepers, Mario Aleksik and Mackenzie Syron had good games to keep the scores level.
SD Raiders thought they had the lead after seventy minutes through Anthony Proia who picked up the scraps from a scramble, yet the goal was to be ruled out adjudged offside.
Eventually the first did come at the other end. Jason Romero finishing from a cross delivered in from the left wing. Romero then doubled his tally with a stunning solo effort just before injury time. In which Romero picked up a clearance from a corner in his own half, before bursting down the right win, turning two defenders and finishing calmly, Surely a goal of the season contender?
That was to be the final blow in the contest, as both sides look to their weekend fixtures.
By NPL2NSW Men’s Reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)